Page images
PDF
EPUB

Answer. As of 21 November 1973 there were 47 tankers either being built or under firm contract to be built in the United States. Of these 9 are larger than 200,000 tons dwt and 24 are less than 93,000 tons dwt, which leaves only 14 tankers of the size anticipated to be used in the Alaskan trade. Based on the expected vessel mix on the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline System trade provided by Alyeska, less than half of those 14 vessels would be used in the Alaskan trade although all could be used.

Question 4. The treaty imposes certain responsibilities on signatory states to provide appropriate shore reception facilities for handling wuste oil, tank cleanings, and slop oil from vessels using Retention on Board (LOT). Could you outline those responsibilities? How will these facilities be financed? Will they be located in all U.S. ports ?

Answer. In accordance with the provision of Regulation 12 of Annex 1, parties to the Convention shall ensure the provision of adequate reception facilities at oil loading terminals, repair ports and other ports in which ships have oil residues to discharge. The reception facilities shall be available no later than one year after entry into force of the Convention or by 1 January 1977 whichever occurs later. The regulation further explicitly defines which ports must provide the facilities in terms of the ships using the port and quantifies to the extent possible the capacity of the required facilities.

With respect to the financing of the required facilities as well as the specific ports within the U.S. which must provide the facilities, the Coast Guard is consulting with other interested agencies, e.g., EPA and MARAD, as well as the Council on Environmental Quality, and wishes to provide a more complete response to the question after the consultations have been completed.

Question 5. Do you believe it would be advantageous for the United States to give vessels complying with the treaty's provisions before the grandfather dates" a preference for U.S. cargoes ?

Answer. The matter of cargo preference is, of course, not within the purview of the Coast Guard. From a practical standpoint, however, we cannot envisage how "compliance" could be determined in foreign vessels until such time as the ('onvention comes into force and certificates are issued.

Question 6. If the amount of oil being transported by sea increases as erpected, and if the price goes up as is also expected, who will benefit from the transportation cost savings associated with the use of very large crude carriers (VLCC$) ?

Answer. It is hoped that transportation cost savings associated with the use of VLCC's will be used to offset the expected increases in the price of oil. Although, this is a matter over which the Coast Guard has no control or responsibility; we would certainly hope that the U.S. consumer would benefit.

Question 7. Do you anticipate that it will be easier for vessels built in conformity with the treaty provisions to obtain liability insurance!

Answer. The Coast Guard does not think the provisions of the Convention will have any immediate impact on liability insurance premiums. The normal approach to the cost of insurance is to apply so-called “judgment underwriting,” which involves the application of the experiences of the past to the expectation of the future. Since the Convention incorporates two provisions which will reduce the potential for vessel loss and subsequent pollution; i.e., tank size limitations and subdivision and damage stability, we anticipate that premiums could be lower in the future. However, experience will need to be gained before the insurance industry will reduce premiums.

Question 8. What provision, if any, does the Convention make for incorporation of maneuverability, collision avoidance and other features designed to reduce the risk of accidental pollution?

Answer. As stated in the response to question #7, there are two provisions in the Convention to reduce the potential amount of oil outflow that could result from an individual tanker casualty. These are tank size limitation (Regulation 24) of Annex I and subdivision and damage stability requirements (Regulation 25). In addition, the Conference passed Resolution 5 which recommended several things. One recommendation is that the Organization (IMCO) pursue and encourage studies relating to pollution abatement in the marine environment. Studies such as collection of ship casualty statistics and the analysis of such data have been recommended. Another recommendation is to continue work with high priority on the development of measures for the minimization of accidental spillages. Some of these measures are: prevention of accidents to ships including, inter alia, safe navigation procedures, traffic separation schemes and improved aids to navigations; watchkeeping; and maneuverability and controlability of large ships.

Question 9. What potential problems do you foresee in the fact that the major maritime nations have the power to block any amendments to the Convention?

Answer. The amendment procedures set out by Article 16 of the Marine Pollution Convention are the results of a series of negotiated compromises. Not surprisingly, the procedures make blockage of amendments comparatively easy to effect, not only by "major maritime powers" but by any group of parties to the Convention who can organize a “blocking third." If experience with safety conventions is any measure, the major maritime nations will participate fully and meaningfully in the work of Committees and Subcommittees developing the principles and text of amendments to the Convention. Any difficulties which these nations may have will be worked out in most part before an amendment is formally communicated to parties to the Convention for acceptance. Given the foregoing, problems stemming directly from the fact that major maritime nations have the power to block amendments are not likely to pose serious difficulties. It is fair to state, however, that the major maritime nations would use their power to block any amendments designed to add to the Convention features which the maritime nations strongly opposed at the October Conference unless some change in the nature of things maritime convinces them of the wisdom of changing present views. Such features include port state enforcement and the evidentiary rule. (See question #18 and its answer.)

Question 10. What justification, if any, is there for the 70,000 deadweight ton cut-off for segregated ballast! The United States, I believe, proposed a lower tonnage cut-off level. On what basis did the U.8. take this proposal ?

Answer. The initial position of the U.S. Delegation was a 20,000 dwt tonnage cut-off for segregated ballast. 70,000 dwt was a fallback or secondary position. 20,000 dwt was chosen because from the Segregated Ballast Studies done by the United States it appeared that segregated ballast designs were economically viable down to that level. 70,000 dwt was chosen as an alternate or secondary position because 70,000 dwt is the break point, sizewise, between new, nonpersistent oil carriers and crude and other persistent oil carriers. Most new tankers contracted for or under construction below 70,000 dwt are for the nonpersistent oil trade where tank cleaning is often required after each voyage in order to prepare the tank to receive a new cargo. Segregated ballast could help reduce operational oil discharges from these smaller tankers, but potential pollution is not nearly the magnitude of that in the crude oil and other persistent oil trade. Most of the tankers on order or under construction for use in the crude oil trade are greater than 70,000 dwt and will be designed for segregated ballast as required by the Convention.

Question 11. How does the Code for Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk relate to the requirements for chemical carriers in the Convention ?

Answer. Regulation 13 of Annex 2 requires that parties to the Convention issue detail requirements on the design, construction, equipment and operation of ships which transport noxious liquid substances in bulk. Further, with respect to chemical tankers, the detail requirements must contain at least all the provisions of the IMCO Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk adopted by the IMCO Assembly by Resolution A.212(VII).

Question 12. Could you provide the Committee with a list of vessels carrying norious substances in bulk (as defined in the Convention) and a brief sketch of the routes they utilize?

Answer. Attached is a listing of U.S. tankers which currently transport noxious liquid substances in bulk. These vessels are principally engaged in coastwise voyages; i.e., Gulf of Mexico to the East Coast, East Coast to the West Coast, and from Puerto Rico to the Gulf of Mexico and East Coast of the United States. Additionally, there are 103 foreign flag chemical carriers which currently hold a U.S. Coast Guard Letter of Compliance and are from time to time engaged in transporting chemicals to or from a U.S. port. Typical routes of these vessels are as follows:

a. Europe to East Coast or Gulf Coast.
b. South America to Gulf Coast.
c. East Coast to Japan via the Gulf of Mexico.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Question 13. What provision does the Convention make for tank washing equip ment?

Answer. The Convention makes no provision for tank washing equipment.

Question 14. On what basis is inspection of vessels allowed under the Conven tion:

Answer. Under Article 5 of the Convention, any ship required to hold a certifi. cate in accordance with the Regulations? is subject to inspection while in the ports or offshore terminals of a party to the Convention. Such inspection is lim ited to verifying that the ship has on board a valid certificate unless "clear grounds" exist for believing that the "condition of the ship or its equipment does not correspond substantially with the particulars of that certificate.” While “clear grounds" is not defined in the Convention or in its legislative history, the term may be taken to describe a standard of proof more stringent than “reasonable grounds” in a Common Law sense. However, the term is open to interpretation by parties to the Convention and it is likely that the United States can adopt an interpretation which would not unduly limit the scope of inspection under Article 5.

Article 6 of the Convention makes ships to which the Convention applies subject to inspection by a party, in whose port or offshore terminal the ship is located, for the purpose of verifying whether the ship has discharged harmful substances in violation of the Regulations. This authority to inspect is not limited by a requirement for "clear grounds" as is the authority in Article 5,, described above. Furthermore, evidence of a violation received from any party to the Convention gives rise to a duty to investigate on the part of an “Administration" (essentially, the flag state of the ship concerned). With respect to oil, “visible traces" give rise to a duty to investigate (see Regulation 9, Annex I, paragraph 6), such an investigation to include scrutinizing "relevant oil discharge records." Taken as a whole, a ship to which the Convention applies is subject to inspection by a party to the Convention in whose port or offshore terminal the ship is located and that inspection is not necessarily limited to verifi. cation of a Pollution Prevention Certificate. Furthermore, such a party may refer evidence of violation to the ship's flag state, in which case the flag state would be obliged to investigate the matter and report the results to the referring party.

In short, the right to inspect and the scope of lawful inspection may not be so limited as a cursory reading of the Convention provisions may indicate.

Question 15. Hou are military vessels treated under the Convention? Offshore drilling ships? Fishing lessels?

Answer. In accordance with Article 3, paragraph 3, the Convention does not apply to warships, naval auxiliaries, or other ships owned or operated by a State and used for the time being, only on government non-comercial service. However, parties to the Convention shall ensure by adoption of appropriate measures not impairing the operations or operational capabilities of such ships owned or operated by it, that such ships shall act in a manner consistent so far as is reasonable and practicable with the Convention.

1 Annexes I, II, and IV require Issuance of International Pollution Prevention Certificates under specified circumstances for oil, chemicals carried in bulk, and sewage, respectively. Fixed and floating platforms which include drilling rigs, are defined as ships and have to comply with the applicable provisions of the Convention. However, releases directly arising from the exploration, exploitation, and processing of the seabed are specifically excluded from the definition of discharge. Thus, the actual drilling operation of a rig is excluded from the provisions of the Convention. Other operation of the drilling rig is included.

Fishing vessels are not dealt with individually in the new Convention. Instead, they are included within the broad definition of ships. Within Annexes 1, 4, and 5 there is a liberalization of the regulations for vessels below certain sizes; i.e., 150 and 400 gross tons. Therefore, while fishing vessels are included most would not to fully comply because of their size.

Question 16. Are there any substantive, environmental standards for the creation of new special areas under the Convention!

Answer. At present none have been identified. The amendment procedure provides the mechanism for such creation should the need arise.

Question 19. Do you believe deepwater ports would require waste oil reception facilities? Has anyone giren any consideration to how such reception facilities would be created with a monobuoy deepucater port system?

Answer. Regulation 12. Annex 1, of the Convention calls for governments to ensure that reception facilities are provided at oil loading terminals and repair ports in which ships have oil residues to discharge. The deepwater port facilities proposed for the United States are offloading terminals where tankers are pumping off oil and taking on ballast water; hence no waste oil, with the exception of oily bilge water, is involved. We feel certain that the tank vessels designed to offload at deepwater ports will be able to handle their oil bilge water in accordance with Regulation 9, Annex I, of the Convention. Other countries such as Libya and Kuwait, which do have onloading deepwater terminal facilities, may have problems with reception facilities. The Coast Guard has no knowledge of reception facilities as a part of monobuoy deepwater port systems.

Question 18. One of the fundamental problems of previous discharge-orientedla marine pollution treaties has been enforcement. I understand that the Conference rejected both the eridentiary rule proposal and the port state enforcement proposal offered by the United States. Consequently, I would like to ask whether you believe this treaty will be successful in preventing unlawful discharges of oil.

Answer. It is true that a fundamental failing of previous "discharge-oriented” oil pollution treaties has been the poor means for, and efficacy of, enforcement. It is also true that the port state enforcement and evidentiary rule proposals supported strongly by the l'nited States and other nations were rejected by the 1973 Marine Pollution Conference. However, the Marine Pollution Convention which the Conference adopted cannot be classified simply as a “dischargeoriented" treaty. The Convention contains construction standards and monitoring and control provisions in varying forms of application to the several harmful substances which the Convention would regulate.

As to "unlawful discharges of oil” to which this question is specifically addressed, the Convention represents a major step forward from previous treaties. Segregated ballast becomes mandatory for a wide range of oil tankers, and devices to monitor and control allowable discharges (including automatic flow shut-off features) become mandatory for an even wider range of ships. Thus, the need to detect discharges and prove them unlawful by means external to the ship should not assume the same central importance as with previous treaties. In other words, detection by observation and instrumentation by external means, with all the difficulties of proof this entails, will be but one of several methods of enforcing Convention strictures.

This Convention does not bring to bear all the enforcement mechanisms which the United States prefers to be available. But, assuming good faith and observance of its construction and equipment requirements by parties, the Convention will be successful in very large measure in preventing unlawful discharges of oil to a degree well beyond that achievable under previous conventions.

As to "operational discharges" of oil under Regulations 9 of Innex I, recognizing the likelihood that some ship operators will try to circumvent monitoring and control equipment safeguards, enforcement will represent a challenge to parties to the Convention. However, at least so far as the United States is concerned, the challenge can be met by forth right and consistent investigative practices and by employing modern technology to detect discharges and prove them unlawful.

Question 19. The U.S. recently made a proposal to IMCO suggesting the formation of a Marine Environment Protection Committee (JEPC). What progress has been made on that proposal?

Answer. The eighth IMCO Assembly meeting in November 1973 adopted the U.S. proposal forming the MEPC and specifically designated it as the appropriate IMCO body to deal with amendments under the new Convention. The first meeting of the MEPC is presently scheduled for 4-8 March 1974.

Senator BEALL. Our next witness is Admiral Bender, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard. We are happy to see you, Admiral Bender.

STATEMENT OF ADM. CHESTER R. BENDER, COMMANDANT, U.S. COAST GUARD; ACCOMPANIED BY ADMIRAL BENKERT, CHIEF, ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS OFFICE; AND CAPT. HENRY BELL, CHIEF, TECHNICAL DIVISION, OFFICE OF MERCHANT MARINE SAFETY

Admiral BENDER. Thank you.

Mr. Chairman, there has been a change. I will, for the record, however, indicate that Admiral Benkert, who has been spoken of before, is on my right. He is the Chief of Office of Merchant Marine Safety. Capt. Henry Bell, Office of Merchant Marine Safety, on my left, Chief of the Technical Division.

I gave the wrong title for Admiral Benkert. He is Chief of our Environmental Systems Office.

As you mentioned, I am Adm. C. R. Bender, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard.

It is a pleasure for me to appear before you today on behalf of the Coast Guard to discuss the International Conference on Marine Pollution held in London from October 8 to November 2, 1973. Judge Train and I chaired the U.S. delegation at this Conference and I have a personal as well as a professional interest in the subject under discussion today.

I wish to endorse Judge Train's statement concerning the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973. I feel we were more successful in achieving our position than we ever anticipated. The Convention incorporates most of the provisions the United States felt were necessary for a meaningful and effective agreement.

The Coast Guard believes the Convention constitutes a substantial improvement to existing international law governing control of pollution from ships. Its provisions may well meet the goals of the Ports and Waterways Safety Act. Before we come to a definitive conclusion on this issue, however, further analysis and study are necessary. Later in this statement I will explore this subject.

In his statement, Judge Train compared the new Convention with international law now in force—that is, the 1954 Convention as amended in 1962—thus illustrating the progress which this Convention truly represents. I shall append to my statement, Mr. Chairman, a comparison of certain major features of the new Convention with those of the 1954 Convention. This comparison, we believe, amply demonstrates the significant progress achieved by the international community at the October Conference.

[The table follows:]

« PreviousContinue »